In the Beginning

I planned to start a blog to document my journey of my career switch to fashion like 3 mths ago but kept putting it off due to various matters and as a result, I realized that I now have a ton to write to properly document my journey.
And I am one of the few people who hates to go online at home, thus the procrastination. Then one day when I was reading Xiaxue’s blog, she mentioned she is using a blogging app which simplifies her blogging seeing that she is a full-time mum now and that got me this eureka moment where I thought I can use a blogging app too!
So after a short googling I stumbled on WordPress app and best of all it is free!
So ta-da, my site and first blog ready in less than 10 mins. Of course I will have to log in one day on my laptop to check the layout and ensure everything looks ok. But until then, I can blog and get some of my journey down before missing out pertinent experiences. Yippee! ^_^

Let’s start right at the beginning, which will be like 15 years ago… (Ok you are starting to get an idea how old I am haha) so 15 years ago, I have planned to study fashion design, I have always been interested in fashion and art and have drawn some basic designs in school. However, my mum being the older generation objected violently to the idea of her daughter being in an art and creative industry as the common perception is that artists are poor, so I went to take up engineering in polytechnic instead. After that I went on to university, but my fashion dream kept brewing. Thus in my 3rd year, I decided to take up a part-time certificate in NAFA for fashion design. It was tiring but I enjoyed that semester tremendously. My mum probably grudgingly accepted the idea provided it does not affect my degree. I even caught her showing off my design to one of her customers one day. Then came my final year and I decided to defer my part-time studies for a year to focus on my final year in uni and graduate I did. After I started in my 1st job, I thought of resuming my studies with NAFA. Unfortunately, my first job had tons of overtime and NAFA has a strict attendance policy that you can’t be more than 15 mins late for class or you will be considered absent. I believe that is fair as any courses, you should be on time in order not to disrupt the class. So I couldn’t continue the course then. After slogging for the company for a year, my colleague and I was unceremoniously booted out not by our own fault. Sales were booming (hence the overtime) however the company was run by arcane Japanese who wants to implement a very traditional Japanese working culture to the small company. When our suggestions for improvements were interpreted as defiance, they decided to get all of us to quit. This is obviously not a smart move, if you replace 50% of your staff at one go, you just end up with chaos for months. Thus I heard after my colleague and I left, they hired 5 people to replace the 2 of us and had to do firefighting for months.

Anyway back to the story, I thought that was a good chance to go back to NAFA then but alas they have stopped that course. (Today NAFA has relaunched a similar course but have converted it to modular basis) Thus I went on to my next job. Then I took part in a costume design competition and became a finalist. I remembered one of the judges looking at my design and telling me if I could create my costume well, I could win the competition. Strangely, when she said that I actually felt more pressured. In the end, due to my lack of sewing skills, I felt my costume was poorly executed. But standing on the runway that day, I still felt proud that I got in despite my lack of fashion education. The sad part was that none of my family wanted to attend the runway show. Even my sister who was at that place on that day didn’t want to come. I was disappointed but also vowed that one day I will create my costume the way I had designed it and do a much better job.

Gosh I just realized this will be a long story, but I hope you will bear with me. I then decided to quit my job to join a fashion start up. My mum thought I was crazy to take a pay cut as I was doing well and my Ex-GM expressed concerns. But I was young and I couldn’t care less. I quit and went into the company only to have our supplier went MIA. In the end we converted to be a pastry company…

So I decided to just focus on my career but I still took short courses on and off from various schools. I found courses to be the best value for money. Most of their part-time courses are subsidized by WDA and if you are a Singaporean you will get funding for the course. It is affordable and the teachers are experienced. LA Salle, on the other hand is costly, however LA Salle teaches designs and techniques that are more sophisticated and modern. Still, a lot depends on the lecturer. My first experience with LA Salle wasn’t that good as I felt the lecturer wasted too much time teaching really basic minor stuff. We wasted our first lesson just talking about what stuff to buy. With the course averaging nearly hundred dollars per lesson, I rather he teaches me something substantial. However, I really liked my second lecturer who was ever ready to impart her wealth of experience to us. Every lesson was carefully planned and she ensured we spend the time wisely.

I also did a short stint in Taipei where I took up some lessons as well. Taipei is famous for their buxibans or tuition classes. Apparently you can get a tutor for just about any subject under the sun even for a doctorate. So I enrolled in one of these classes for fashion design. The fees are low, it costs only $1000 for 3 months and you get one on one teaching to create 3 outfits of your choice through draping. The class size is small and I learnt I interesting techniques. I really enjoyed t and felt the level they taught was higher than what I learnt in Singapore and its only a tuition class!

So when I had a new manager whom I couldn’t worked with, I decided to take the plunge to quit and do a career switch to fashion. My mum was the biggest obstacle but she could see how unhappy I was. I was making alot of money each month but just unhappy. Actually I felt that I had a cushy job, I had nice colleagues not much overtime and a great pay but there’s something in my heart that is just unfulfilled, a longing that caused me to change jobs often. In the end she and my sis consented to me making the switch. However, they are of the mentality that if I try and realized how hard it will be I will finally give up and in Chinese 死了這條心。

Prior to taking the plunge, I went for a job interview, the MD asked me what do I really want to do in life? He described my career as a canvas where since the artist didn’t know where he was going, he messed up the painting and he can start afresh and repaint a great picture. I know he was drawing this analogy to relate that I can start afresh at his company and build my career well if I join them. However, deep down I know, I want to do fashion but I don’t know whether I can, especially at an older age. In the end, I turned down their job offer but his words stuck with me.

I decided to enroll in’s professional conversion program for diploma in Fashion Technology . I actually researched various schools before deciding on Why I chose was that firstly the course is short. It’s a 3.5 months course and one of the cheapest I could find with govt funding. I have heavy financial commitments and can’t go jobless for too long so 3.5 months seems like a good time frame. It comes with a 2 month internship if you are selected by the host company and if you are selected, WDA will provide an allowance of $1k per month up to $5k for you. This sounds great and could help cover some of my expenses of I am selected. In return, you have to remain at least 5 months in the fashion industry after you graduate.

I did thought of going for MDIS one year diploma in fashion design course which is around $7K. In comparison, fees after funding is around $4K. However, the thought of going one year without income and having to finance my $1K insurance premiums monthly is a daunting thought. In the end, I dropped the MDIS idea. La Salle, Raffles Design Institute and NAFA were out as I have already taken a tuition grant for my university studies and is no longer eligible for further grants. To study at these schools, I will have to pay foreigner fees which is around 40K-80K depending on which institution I go to.

Thus in the end, taftc it was though I do have reservations on the duration of the course. After 3 months I will be awarded a WSQ Diploma in Fashion Technology but will I attain sufficient skills to be in the industry and will my cert be recognized? The people at Taftc assured that it is a nationally recognized cert but well, I guess the only way to find out is when I graduate and look for jobs.

So in the meantime, I started helping out a friend’s friend who do custom-made affordable gowns for brides and I get to do basic stuff like sewing laces, beading etc. The boss is really nice, she used to work from home and just started a new shop. Even when I left due to L’s below job offer, she was really nice about it. If there’s a chance, I will love to work with her in some way again.

Then my friend, L approach me out of the blue. L was one of my ex-managers in the 1st company and have acquired a children clothing wear business. He has no prior experience in fashion and wanted to offer me a job when he heard that I am leaving my company. Usually I shy away working with friends. However, I just applied for a BTO with my bf and suddenly L offer seem so timely. He offered an ok pay (a more than 50% pay cut from my last job, but well most fashion jobs don’t pay very well) and he even said that I can go for my course for 3.5 mths and continue to work for him. As he really needed people for the festive season, I decided to defer my course by 3 months to help him and go for my course in Feb.

What happened next is another adventure which I will share more in my next post. Nitez!


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